Opening the strucutre


Having spent an intense but amazing eight months with this community I have understood that the Climate-KIC alumni community is extremely diverse and fluid. There are many people who come and go and maybe come back again, like we saw at the EIT Connect with Swati Pandey. Many of the active members are full of brilliant ideas. However, the fluidity and diversity has not been fully embraced. In various instances I experienced that due to bureaucratic processes and other reasons many of these ideas slipped away, wasting brilliant opportunities. Well, I am glad to say that we are working on a solution for that.

The goal of the research I am conducting is not to have a perfect design by a deadline, but to come up with alternative ideas on how to incorporate the energy and motivation Climate-KIC Alumni has. The challenge is immense but the motivation in the team is promising.

What the Board has identified is an error in the system. What struck me was that almost every new community designs e.g.: Design Community, Enspiral etc. are all open source communities, which basically enables them to embrace the diversity and the fluidity of the groups. The error of our structure lies in the lack of openness.

Therefore, this new journey of community research made me realise that how important it is for us to question the current structure of organisations. I have worked in various NGOs and often bumped into similar constraints as I did as a Board member of CKAA, yet I never really saw the pattern of old bureaucratic hierarchical and exclusive structures, which are not only embedded in the social or environmental sector but every other parts of our lives.

The increasing “independent interconnectedness” of people gives us an excellent entry point to change the system. Our patterns of work have changed so much; today it’s become easy to work together even if we are not in the same country (or continent!). By creating a more inclusive and open structure for our network we can finally grasp the unique selling points of the CKAA network .

Learning always comes with more questions, and while I am excited to see the implementation of a much more democratic and open structure I find it very difficult to imagine a community without a board, a manager or something similar. Can we work together without strong centralisation? Should we be centralised to any extent? Who will pull together all the brilliant ideas out there?

Recognising that I am only in the beginning of the research process, I am ready to find answers to these question and foster the reconstruction of this wonderful community.

Picture from: Matt Katzenberger